Creating an Optimal Learning Environment
When preparing for exams, just going to school and attending school holiday programmes are not going to cut it. Ultimately, it all goes down to you doing your own revision and feeling prepared for your big day. Study effectively begins with first first creating an optimal learning environment. You should always choose to study consistently at one place so your mind gets into the habit of working whenever you are there.
Here’s a checklist of 6 items when creating your very own study area:
Let there be light
The environment most conducive to learning is one that is brightly lit, preferably with a mixture of both yellow and white light. This is because the fluorescent (white) light is glaring and may lead to headaches and unnecessary stress on our eyes.
Check the Temperature
Temperature that is too high has the tendency to make your drowsy. As far as possible, study in a place that is a little colder than usual. Wear a jacket if you have to. This is because a lower temperature will keep you more alert and the optimal temperature for the brain is at 19 degree Celsius.
Free Yourself from Distractions
Even with great discipline and willpower, it is inevitable that we all get distract sometimes. Humans are naturally curious creatures – if our phone buzzes, we want to check it or if we are reminded of a game, we tend to have the urge to play it. This is exactly why we must ensure that our study area is free from such distractions like TV, handphone, video games, comics, magazines, and above all, our bed!
Don’t Pig Out!
A small snack before the exams is fine if it helps makes you feel happy and a little more ready for what comes next. However, never eat a big meal before a study session. It often makes you drowsy because a great amount of energy and blood is directed to your digestive systems. This makes it difficult to cope with the extra food. Avoid red meat (beef), sugar or white flour (found in cakes and pastry) before studying, studies have shown that these food types reduce our brain’s ability to store information.
Bach for Background Music?
Play a soft and light background music whenever you study. Music is a rhythmic and listening to it has a synergistic effect on us which enhances our brain power. The best kind of music to use in learning is Baroque music. It maintains a rhythm of sixty beats per minute, putting our mind in a relaxed state (alpha state) so learning can take place.
Individual or Group Study?
Is it better to study alone or in a group? It depends. Group study allows you to pool resources and knowledge. However, if you choose to work with students who are ill-disciplined, you are bound to get distracted along the way. If your preferred choice of studying is as a group, then always approach friends who are more resourceful and more disciplined than you are. This way, you can only be influenced for the better.
Individual studying, on the other hand, guarantees minimal distraction. At the same time, it will mean that you will not be able to share and compares notes with others. The bottom line is that your should plan out your study routines – a great strategy to approach this is to enjoy the best of both worlds by allocating some time to study individually and arrange group study sessions for the others.
How many of these items are checked off on your list? How can you improve on your current study area to make it even more conducive for your learning?